E-Commerce Giant, Amazon, Patents Blockchain Authentication Of Accepted Consumer Products

The world-leading e-commerce platform, Amazon Technologies Inc., filed a patent on blockchain technology for proving the authenticity of consumer goods in its online marketplace. The filing approved and made publicly available on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, describes the platform as an

“interface for verifiable tracking of an item through a supply chain using a distributed electronic ledger.”

The patent titled “Distributed ledger certification” was filed back in July 2017 with the U.S. Patents Office signaling a long term view of Amazon on distributed ledgers.

The platform aims at improving the trustworthiness of an item, service, or party as the world’s online marketplace grows to unseen levels. Currently, systems that lack transparency, coherency, referential integrity, or security set challenges for the global growth of online marketplaces. All these challenges reduce the trust between different parties – a problem that Amazon aims to solve with its DLT network.

The platform aggregates data from manufacturers, distributors, and shippers on an open network architecture to give the consumer real-time trusted information. The patent further touches on a possible implementation of permissioned enterprise network, Hyperledger.

Amazon in blockchain

In late September of last year, the company announced plans of hiring a specialist in blockchain in a bid to integrate decentralized ledger technologies in advertisements on the platform. The project will curb the mistrust between the sellers and buyers to create a more transparent and secure online marketplace.

Additionally, in late 2019, Amazon announced two blockchain-based products in early phase testing – Amazon Managed Blockchain and the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Visa Files for a Centralized Digital Dollar Patent; Putting Fiat Currencies on Blockchain

Visa, a multinational payments service provider, has filed a patent to create a digital dollar based on blockchain tech with oversight from centralized computers. The US patent & Trademark office revealed the details of this application on May 14. However, Visa initially filed for the patent back in November 2019.

According to the publication, this idea is not solely based on the US dollar. Visa highlighted that the patent involves other currencies as well such that any central bank can smoothly transition to the digital form of its base currency. Dubbed the ‘Digital Fiat Currency’, it was filed in conjunction with inventors Alexander Pierre and Simon J. Hurry.

The Digital Dollar Technical Aspect

Visa has since mentioned the possibility of leveraging Ethereum’s blockchain for this development. The proposed infrastructure design encompasses two records meant to facilitate a transparent conversion from fiat to digital. One is tasked to ensure that a digital denomination has been created while the other records that a corresponding fiat amount is removed from circulation,

“…every time a dollar worth of digital fiat currency is generated, the central entity ensures that a corresponding physical dollar bill is removed from circulation, in order to regulate the value of the digital fiat currency.”

The application goes on to tout cryptocurrencies as a viable solution given the cost-friendly nature and immutability aspects embedded within blockchain ecosystems. However, Visa, did not maintain the fundamental nature of blockchain decentralization as per the application. In fact, it further suggests that the centralized entity approach could be the answer for implementing monetary policy in digital markets.

Following this approach, Visa’s patent was praised by the former chairman of US Commodity Futures Trading Commision (CFTC), Christopher Giancarlo. He noted that the patent is a major statement from both private and public stakeholders in the US,

“This confirms when the U.S. does big things like the space program and the Internet, there are partnerships between the private and public sector. This patent filing is evidence the private sector is very much at work on the future of money.”

Visa’s Recent Scaling in Blockchain and Crypto Activity

As the world navigates living with Covid-19, payment service providers have been on their toes to match the current needs. This has somewhat favored the crypto market which many were initially skeptical about. Visa’s latest milestone within this space is the inclusion of Coinbase as one of its principal members. This alliance has seen Coinbase pioneer debit cards for crypto spending with the help of Visa. The firm also runs a FinTech Fast Track Program supporting startups within this industry based on Visa’s resources.

Despite this success, the digital dollar patent does not guarantee a solution in monetary policy or regulatory oversight. A Visa spokesperson told Forbes that not every patent result in a new product but the firm strives to respect intellectual property,

“While not all patents will result in new products or features, Visa respects intellectual property and we are actively working to protect our ecosystem, our innovations and the Visa brand.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Block.one Granted Patent To Incentivize Positive Feedback On Social Media Networks

The company behind EOS blockchain network, Block.one, has been granted a patent which will allow it to use blockchain technology to encourage the use of positive feedback within the social media networks.

On April 28, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released the patent documents revealing that Block.one is intending to solve the absence of incentivization techniques within the social media sphere for users to offer positive feedback such as likes, comments as well as upvotes.

The patent documents were first filed in May last year. According to the files, one of the ways by which posts get to influence is by getting positive feedback from the community. The documents explain that whereas the content creator is given recognition via positive feedback, the users that offer positive feedback are hardly appreciated.

Block.one has developed a fresh methodology which provides exposure to social media users that provide positive feedback apart from the original creator. The system is designed such that it will start by authenticating a post via a blockchain in order to make sure that the content is purely done by the author. From there, users that want to be linked with the given post can then bid on it using tokens that will be issued through social media. This will allow the highest bidder have their profile displayed on a spot that can be seen within the post.

As per the documents, the successful bidders will be given exposure via other users’ posts and can then utilize the exposure to promote their own posts or interests.

The documents also state that all the post data will be kept on the blockchain while the tokens gained via the bidding procedure will then be given to the author.

Block.one seems to be focused on the social media space as it announced its own social platform Voice which is built on EOS blockchain. In January the firm hired an ex-forbes executive to be its lead CEO. Currently, Voice is in private beta.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Blockstack Gets Patent Approval for Single Sign-on For Decentralized Applications (DApp)

Blockstack, the decentralized web development platform has been granted a patent for its method of cryptographically signature which makes it possible to sign on any of their Dapss with a single digital signature without the need for any third-party authentication.

Blockstack got the nod from USPTO on March 24, merely 8 months after it applied for the patent. The 8-month waiting period is quite low when we compare it to the average time period taken by USPTO has been around 32-months. Blockstack first released the developer version of Auth in 2017.

The patent document suggests that Blockstack’s Auth aims to become the one cryptographic password to rule them all in the next generation of internet also known as Web 3.0. The patent document also revealed that the functionality of Auth would be quite similar to current generation social media platforms like Google and Facebook’s one-click sign-in for multiple platforms. However, the execution would be quite different from the current ones.

In the current scenario, a third-party is responsible for authentication who take over the control from the user and manages to scan any possible data from centralized servers without the user’s consent or we can say the policies have been as such that a user has to grant authority to use the service. However, Auth won’t be relying on servers for authentication and instead, it would make use of the cryptographic public key.

How Auth Would Ensure Privacy for the Users

The process of authentication would be carried out by exchanging JSON web tokens between the Dapps and Blockstack browser. At the time of sign-in an “ephemeral transit key” is generated by the Dapp whose public portion is sent to the browser using “authRequest” token. The browser then encrypts the public portion and send back the encrypted public information to Dapp in the form of “authResponse” token.

Although this would be Blockstack’s first patent for its universal login Auth protocol, it has also led to questioning whether patenting was the right way for open source Blockstack Auth and decentralization in general. Muneeb Ali, CEO of Blockstack addressed the issue on a forum after 2 days of patent confirmation. Ali claimed that the main reason for them to patent their system was so that no other big firms file the patent for any similar protocol, which would have negated their work.

Ali also cited that many big firms like IBM, Microsoft and Amazon have been interested in making it big in the blockchain space and have filed numerous patents for the same. Ali also noted that their only intention is to patent core team effort and called it purely for the defensive purpose.

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Author: James W

China Moves Closer to Issuing its Digital Currency in the Face of Coronavirus: Report

  • Alibaba, the company involved in the development of China’s digital currency filed for a patent related to the digital currency
  • The news came hot on the heels of new coronavirus bill in Congress proposing a digital dollar

The People’s Bank of China is getting nearer to releasing its digital currency, reports The Global Times.

According to the latest report, China’s central bank in collaboration with private companies has completed the development of the basic function of the autonomous digital currency and is now drafting laws for its circulation.

Many companies in the private sector, most located in Shenzhen such as Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent, and China Merchant Bank are the participants in the development of China’s digital currency.

Alibaba’s financial arm, Alipay, has made public 5 patents pertinent to China’s  digital currency from 1/21 to 3/17.

The patents address digital wallets, issuance, transaction recording, and anti-money laundering aspects of the digital currency.

The next step in this process is working with financial services and regulators of insurance as well as passing legislation that could be lengthy and as such no exact date has been set for the launch.

Coronavirus Pandemic Pushing for the Need of Digital Currency

This report came close on the heels of the US considering creating a digital dollar to save the US economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual greenback could be used to send payments of $1,000 for minors and $2,000 to legal adults.

Both the draft bills “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” and the “Financial Protections and Assistance for America’s Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act,” suggest the creation of a digital dollar.

Digital currency is seen as the “most convenient tool” to translate central banks’ zero and negative interest policy to commercial banks.

Citing the industry insiders, the Global Times also reported China should accelerate the availability of its digital currency as interest rates are driven into negative territory around the world to improve liquidity in the market amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Cao Yan, vice director of the Advanced Research Institute of Blockchain, the central bank should accelerate the launch of its CBDC due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Cao said,

“If there is a chance China is considering lowering its interest rate into negative territory as a final option and directing such policy to commercial loans and lending, a circulated digital currency rather than M0 will be able to achieve that.”

He believes the development of the digital currency would be more efficient if the bank works with private institutions that are involved with blockchain technology and 3rd party payment processes.

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Author: AnTy

IBM Wins ‘Self-Aware’ Token Patent, It Can Record Offline Transaction Data To Upload Later

IBM was given a US patent for a “self-aware” token that’s capable of recording its own data for transactions.

The patent was awarded on January 7. It presents a ledger-based system for payments, a system that makes tracking and tracing crypto transactions easier for governments, businesses and individuals too. It’s designed to record the transactions even when not being used on the payments platform patented by IBM back in 2012. As soon as the token gets back to this platform’s ecosystem later, the data of offline transactions is immediately uploaded.

Payment Location and the Transacted Amounts Revealed

With the patent, tokens make a complete cycle and reveal all the data about the amounts that have been transacted, the payment location and some information on the token holders. However, the data is not stored in the token itself, but on other devices like phones, laptops and so on.

IBM says that knowing where the tokens come from is very helpful as far as bolstering “trust and viability” in the newly formed community that uses tokens goes, seeing businesses will be able to prove they haven’t been conducting illegal activities, individuals can make sure they haven’t been scammed, whereas regulators can enforce their laws more effectively.

Exchanges Between Different Asset Classes Facilitated

IBM claims that with the new patent, the exchanges between asset classes that are of various forms get to be facilitated. The more cryptocurrencies seem to be developed, the more payments between different asset classes are difficult to enable. This is what the company said about how important it is to record transaction data:

“e-Currencies [could] operate across disparate economic systems, fostering easier participating alongside sovereign currencies and other non-standard currencies.”

IBM’s Patent for a Blockchain-Based Web Browser that Protects Privacy

In August 2019, IBM also received a patent for a privacy protection blockchain-based web browser. It can be said the company had a certain contribution to the crypto space, seeing it launched the IBM Blockchain Platform back in 2017 and has contributed to the Hyperledger project.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Dish Network Patents ‘Anti-Piracy Management System’ Using Blockchain Technology

Dish Network has just published on Thursday a patent for its new blockchain-based anti-piracy system that enables owners to see how their content is getting used.

Dish claims the system can oversee and implement ownership rights more efficiently by putting platforms on alert mode when their content is being used without approval. It seems the biggest problem of online streaming is piracy and the distribution platforms are too many to be monitored in an effective manner. While it’s easy to take down unauthorized content after identification, this usually happens after millions of views.

The System Was Initially Filed in 2018

Initially filed in July 2018, Dish Network’s new anti-piracy system uses blockchain technology for embedding ownership data that can only be updated and uploaded by owners. It intends to provide distribution platforms a reference point that’s incorruptible and to make sure the data is authorized. More than this, it helps with the enforcing of ownership rights, taking action against administrators who put up content without permission.

Not Yet Known If the System Will Use Its Own Blockchain

There’s not yet known if the Dish Network’s anti-piracy system will work on an already existing platform or use its own blockchain. Users will be able to pay owners in crypto or fiat currencies for their identity tokens, which will give them the green light to use content. These identity tokens are customizable and permit access for a specified amount time. They also give the authorization for content on some platforms to be edited. When someone unauthorized uses the content, the owner gets notified.

Dish is One of the Biggest Television Providers in the US

Having over 9.5 million patrons in the US, Dish is among the most important satellite television providers in the country. It has grappled to keep its subscribers just as much as other companies in its category did, as more and more people prefer online streaming nowadays.

Back in 2018, when over 1 million subscribers cancelled with them, they said online operators are using their content illegally and filed 2 lawsuits against 2 different platforms. Other important companies that have recognized how efficient blockchain technology is when it comes to copyright enforcement are Baidu and the Korean giant CJ.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Facebook’s 6-Year Wait Comes to An End: Patent for Personal Finance Tracking Tool Gets Ratified

Facebook’s 2013 patent for a personal finance tracking tool gets approved reports BeInCrypto. As per the news outlet, the tracking tool compares a user’s financial spending to those based on relatable benchmarks. This will allow a user to have an idea of where they lie in terms of percentile.

Here’s an extract of the patent that has been shared:

“Allows its users to obtain reports of their spending compared to various benchmarks. The benchmarks may be for various demographic groups, networks to which the user belongs, groups of users connected to a user or any other suitable grouping of users.”

Given that the patent has been accepted several years later since filing for it, it becomes questionable whether this is still a goal in place for the social media outlet. With the concerns they currently face in relation to their Libra project and having been under the spotlight for breach of data privacy, taking on a finance tracking tool might not be considered.

Speaking of the Libra project, so far, leaders around the world seem to turn down the idea simply because of the social media’s scarring with data privacy and the fact that such a project would result in them having too much power. Given that Facebook has also been accused for having the ability to influence elections outcomes, adding more power can be too dangerous, especially in the financial world.

Facebook has since lost a number of partners including the likes of PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, eBay and Stripe – all early members of the Libra Association – and according to CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, whether they choose to pursue Libra or not rests in the U.S’ decision regarding regulatory approval.

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai

What Impact Will Samsung’s New Blockchain SSD Patent Have On The Crypto Mining Industry?

Samsung recently filed for a patent called Programmable Blockchain Solid State Drive and Switch. While not a lot of details about this new project are currently known, many people in the industry have already been pointing out how useful this new technology can be.

So, how will this new technology work? It can be used to mine crypto’s better than some ASIC miners, which are specialized mining devices created by crypto mining manufacturers. Their only purpose is to be used for mining so, if someone else creates a better technology, they will be obsolete.

Despite the obvious effects that the patent can cause, no one is actually sure that the final product will be ever developed. Sam Town, a crypto analyst, told Coindesk, who reported on this story, that parents can be a defensive weapon to stop other companies from creating a similar product.

They do not necessarily need to be created in order to defend your idea. It’s not that you want to use it, you just want other people not to be able to do it.

It is no surprise that Samsung is entering the crypto mining industry, as the company develops some of the chips which are used in ASIC miners. In fact, some people may even say that it took too long.

If a company with the size and power of Samsung enters the market, other companies will certainly have problems, especially if they are not so big and are very focused on mining only. Even big ones such as Canaan and Bitmain may be affected. It is important, however, to wait and see what will happen. It is impossible to measure the effect of some technology before it is on the market.

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Author: Ali Qamar

Verizon Awarded New Patent To Create Virtual SIMs Using The Blockchain

The telecom giant Verizon has just won an important new patent. The patent is related to a new product of the company that will be used on using the blockchain to create SIM cards in a much more dynamic way.

According to reports, the patent describes how to replace a SIM card by a virtual one, which would be secured using the blockchain technology. A blockchain record would be created on the blockchain for the vSIM and a certificate would be created. After that, the vSIM number would be linked to the person’s account and activated via smartphones.

Verizon would have nodes that would be used to create a distributed network that would prevent the system from being attacked or tampered with. According to the company, the technology would be protected by a hash three structure and all the data would never be altered, as the blockchain is immutable.

One of the main attractions of the technology, despite its security, is that the vSIM number could be used by more than a single phone at a time. The number could even be temporarily linked to other users for some time and then revoked. This would make the vSIM technology much more malleable than the one that is being used today.

The patent states that with a single implementation, the users could accept new vSIM certificates, transfer them and deliver certificates to other users. A company could, for instance, buy several numbers, assign to employees and then later re-assign these numbers to other employees later.

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Author: Gabriel Machado